Torrid is making headlines for their news that they would be the "first plus-size women's fashion brand" to show at New York Fashion Week, with plans to put on a runway presentation on September 12. The only problem?
They aren't the first — or even the second.
Designer Eden Miller of Cabiria earned the distinction of being the first plus-size line to show at NYFW with her slot in The Fashion Institute's showcase in September 2013; the showcase was on the calendar and showed in the tents at Lincoln Center, generally all accepted markers of being official. "It's not an indie showcase," Miller told Fashionista at the time. "It's not these indie designers trying to make a scene or some punk kid coming in trying to be an upstart."
And just last September, Addition Elle put on a runway show — for the second time — with a superstar lineup that included Ashley Graham, Sabina Karlsson, Precious Lee, Marquita Pring, Candice Huffine, Barbie Ferreira, Tara Lynn and Jordyn Woods. "Its not about talk about anymore, it's about action," Graham told Fashionista. "It's a time in the industry when people are given the opportunity to make change, and we're really seeing who is actually doing it and who's not."
So, why is Torrid claiming to be the first? As Cabiria showed when it was still Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, and Addition Elle showed at an unofficial venue (Kia Style306), the distinction being made is that Torrid will be the first to show with NYFW: The Shows under IMG. In other words, this seems to be a case of getting by on a technicality.
It's always great news to have more diversity on the New York Fashion Week schedule, but it's also important to acknowledge the hard work that predecessors — and even designers like Christian Siriano, Prabal Gurung and Chromat — have put in to make fashion week a more plus-size brand-friendly place.
UPDATE, 7/25 5:15 p.m.: A representative for The Fashion Institute has reached out to note that its showcase, and Cabiria, showed with IMG while Mercedes Benz was still the sponsor. "Our show was under contract with IMG, featured on the IMG NYFW website, took place in the official IMG tents then at Lincoln Center, and was filmed by the company with which IMG contracts to help design and film the shows," the representative says.